Prepping: Ready for Sunburn?

With just a week to run before the last “sunny holiday” of the year, it’s time for the two-bit sunburn avoidance reminders.

The Basics:

1. You need to have sunscreen around at all times when outdoors.  No doubt about it, excessive UV (and B in particular) increases the odds of melanoma.

2. You may not even have such thoughts cross your mind, but there are a lot of medical conditions where excessive sun is very bad for patient outcomes.  Like those awaiting an organ transplant, for example.

3. Not surprisingly, the incidence of sunburn-driven cancers seems to be age related, as well, too.

4. Sunless tanning (beds) may be different than direct, natural-Sun, tanning.  But, sunless tanning seems to give people something akin to a false sense of security about tanning, resulting in sun-risky behaviors.

5.  There’s new research coming out that suggests that UV-C is not very dangerous after all.  UV *(ultraviolet) light comes in multiple “bands” corresponding to different frequencie smeasured by Angstroms.  Here’s a story on “Chronic irradiation with 222-nm UVC light induces neither DNA damage nor epidermal lesions in mouse skin, even at high doses.”  That’s really good news, IF a) you are a mouse and b) happen to walk around with a solar spectrometer to see which UV you’re OD’ing on.

6.  We’ll assume you’re current on the UV-B journal readings and already know that “Ultraviolet B eye irradiation aggravates atopic dermatitis via adrenocorticotropic hormone and NLRP3 inflammasome in NC/Nga mice.

Time to Go Shopping

There are multiple ways to approach sunburns in advance.

The first is the Clothing strategy group.  You ought to know this one:  No more than 10-15 minutes of direct sun, wear a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses that are 100% UV blocking, and a long-sleeved shirt. 100% UV blocking and Polaroid lenses are best for driving. Extremely good glare-reduction.

The other is Skin Treatment with the right kind of Sun Block.

We did a search on Amazon to see what the top Sun Blocks were.  You will no doubt have your own preferences, but let me roll through a reminder about HOW TO SHOP AMAZON for a product like this.

  • The first thing we do is put in the search term we’re looking for.  Everything, right pops up, right?
  • Next, we go to the box on the upper right (which defaults to Featured) and change it with the drop-down to “Average Customer Review.”  Featured near as we can figure it, means the top products are essentially a “digital endcap” display.
  • We generally don’t buy anything until there are at least 50, or more reviews, either.  Less and its all too-subject to “digital salting” by paid reviewers.
  • Last, but not least, we then go through the first page of results and so some quick mental arithmetic:  We add the number of 5-star rankings plus the number of 4-star rankings.  Then we subtract the number of 1-star rankings.
  • We use this approach for almost everything with buy on the ‘Zon and it seems to work very well.

Let’s roll with a search for “SPF 100, waterproof sunblock” shall we?

The first return was an SPF 45 product, so we moved on to the second product, which was Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant and Non-Greasy Sunscreen Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 100+, 3 fl. oz.

This product had 76% five-stars plus 11% four stars for a subtotal of 87.  Minus 5% 1-stars for a total “G score” of 82.

Is a Higher SPF Better?

Yes…and no.  Seems to  depend on who(m?) you ask.  WebMD,  a highly-regarded site in terms of street creds, has a great article here pointing out that a lot of medical types go for SPF 30 to 50 and call it good.

On the other hand, a journaled article for the American Academy of Dermatology differs with the WebMD advice somewhat.  The paper to read is “SPF 100+ sunscreen is more protective against sunburn than SPF 50+ in actual use: Results of a randomized, double-blind, split-face, natural sunlight exposure clinical trial.

Won’t catch us with a tan line forehead to chin, no sir!

So, while we could find products that might score higher, the SPF-100 seems a safer bet.  Unless, of course, like us you’re already 70-something.  In which case, slather on some BBQ sauce and coconut oil and toss for 20-minutes on a side.

The Serious Prepping Part

Lots of people call themselves “preppers” if they keep a few months of toilet paper, a half-dozen cases of chili and beans, and a 55-gallon drum of water.

Well, good…better than nothing, of course…but ONLY for certain kinds of emergencies.

In  a REAL catastrophic collapse scenario (mega-quake, massive fire storm, or hard Grid Down) you will be looking at a recovery time measured (if we’re lucky!) in months.  Otherwise, it might be years.  And you will be outdoors a LOT.

So, when you lay in a supply of sun block for the family, don’t just toss one in the beach bag.  Put one in the glove box of each vehicle you own (make sure the cap’s on and any air is squeezed out!) and toss a couple in your long-term prepping cache, too.

Like the cases of gloves, that I told you about recently, there won’t be anywhere to get help or supplies after a calamitous event, so you need to think ahead.  Broad-brimmed hats, sun block, mosquito nets…all that kind of stuff.

Listen to the Voice of Experience

I didn’t take sunburn very seriously until 1982 (age 33) when I flew down to the Cayman Islands to interview for a job at their national airline.

Everything had gone splendidly in the interview and to relax afterwards, I put on a pair of Power-Plana’s (flippers if you don’t dive) and kicked-out oover the reef in front of Seven Mile Beach and hung around chasing the purple tangs  snorkeling for a couple of hours.

Fortunately, I’d had the (smallest bit of) good sense and I’d put on a tee-shirt.  But (here’s the lesson part):  Tee-shirts, especially clinging to you – slicked on with salt water – have essentially zero SPF.

That afternoon, back on the beach with a G&T or three at my cousin’s place, my back began to feel uncomfortably warm.  I greased up with some Vaseline and was told “I think you have a bad sunburn…

NSS: An hour later, I felt nausea coming on strong.  An hour later trying to sleep, the chills and shakes overtook me.

My cousin recommended a ton of water – dehydration is an issue.  I tossed down some aspirin, too.  The night from hell.

Next morning, I had blisters on my upper back and shoulders as big as an outstretched hand.  A week or two later, they began to flake off and itched like bloody-hell.  Clouds of flakes followed me everywhere.

The advice on treating this condition – more properly called Sun Poisoning – is over here on WebMD.

If you have a family doctor who will issue a ‘scrip’ right away, I believe the best possible medication would be triamcynalone ointment.  No, I’m not a doctor, but with life-long eczema, this is stuff I trust and that works for me.  Ointment is better on burns than the water-based variety, but that’s your doc’s call.  And yeah, it will get all over the sheets, so use something old and disapoable…and SOFT!

Living on a sailboat for more than 10-years, I only had the rare sunburn.  Never like that one, though.  (I am able to learn from my errors, lol).

Sailing in the Pacific Northwest and coast-wise down as far as Mexico, once you’re a mile, or three out, it’s cool enough for a long-sleeve shirt on all but the warmest days fall, winter, and spring.  Toss on a big, wide Tilley Endurables LTM6 Airflo Hat,Khaki/Olive,7.75 sun hat, some zinc oxide on the nose and good to go…

User note: If you’re boating with sun a hat, and the wind’s up, be sure to apply the sun strap.  I must have “Fed Puget Sound” a half-dozen, or so mighty good hats.

One Last Thing…

When you forget everything I’ve told you so far, hit the “Zon and grab Equate (Compare to Hawaiian) tropic After Sun Cooling Gel Aloe, Lidocaine, and Vitamins A & E 20 Oz which is also at Walmart.  Should store several years out of sunlight, we reckon.

Write when you get tan,

12 thoughts on “Prepping: Ready for Sunburn?”

  1. Goos morning George. You are up as early as me. Being of Dutch decent, i burn a few times and then usually tan after that. Good reminder.

    Try to stop by a little more. You know the deal for me. Work work work, gym, kids and chase skirts.

    Im not really a morning person but if i get a call this early and its not work, i know om off to rescue someone. Lol

    Have a great day!

    • N ice to have you back posting, Andy. And keep rescuing the damsels. State of the world? We will so be able to call them to rescue us, lol…

  2. for pain of a sunburn.. put a mild acid on the skin.. ( vinegar )
    why mice can take uv radiation without any troubles..BASICALLY its having
    SEX… HAVE lots of sex LOL.. Mice sexual behaviors change during the mild temperatures..
    “Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) are called gonadotropins because stimulate the gonads – in males, the testes, and in females, the ovaries. They are not necessary for life, but are essential for reproduction. These two hormones are secreted from cells in the anterior pituitary called gonadotrophs. Most gonadotrophs secrete only LH or FSH, but some appear to secrete both hormones.
    As described for thyroid-simulating hormone, LH and FSH are large glycoproteins composed of alpha and beta subunits. The alpha subunit is identical in all three of these anterior pituitary hormones, while the beta subunit is unique and endows each hormone with the ability to bind its own receptor.”

    Supposedly by having lots of sex..This increases the chemicals into your system that deals with radiation that stimulates skin cancer growth… you You know the after sex glow LOL LOL LOL LOL Now is it true or not.. who knows who cares kind of like that study done in japan where they had three plants one they played acid rock to and swore at it daily the second one they talked gently to and played soft soothing music and the third they didn’t say a word.. the first one withered and died the second one grew and flourished the third one looked sickly….
    but there are a few studies done on the subject.. LOL LOL I would have to look for them.. I think Stanford but I would have to look..( one of my favorite college libraries )
    speaking of books.. my wife is on my tail to reduce my book pile next to my magic chair.. grrr.. I told her I could go and start watching stupid tv shows instead or hang out at the bar.. grrr.. she said.. the pile is growing I don’t mind having it full but this is getting ridiculous.. ( I will go through them pick out fifty of the have to’s and store the rest.. grrr) LOL LOL my friend had company.. as they were leaving ( he is one that reminds me of the members of this little group that thought everyone is a drooling idiot.. LOL )as they were leaving they were chuckling to themselves I asked what is funny.. they said he told them it just irritated the hell out of him when I am right and he knows it LOL LOL LOL LOL…I was the scourge of the earth the other day to.. I was visiting with someone he assumed is gay LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL I of course said.. I don’t feel like I am missing anything because they are having sex..LOL LOL LOL

  3. Great thoughts on the hat. In NM at constant high elevation, broad brimmed hats(and sunglasses) are necessary even to wander out to the barn. I personally can’t stand either long sleeves or sunblock most of the time, so I take that chance. I always wear a cheapo ventilated hat and have lost many. Straps are a necessity! Buying a $50.00 hat just for outside work seems a bit much. BTW, for some reason the sun is ferocious in the mornings, and gets far more tolerable later in the day. And regarding oil/fat soluble vitamins – keep them refrigerated and dark. They can go rancid.

    I love the NM sun, especially at night! That and the thin dry air, but that sun will burn very differently than the sun at sea level.


  5. Everybody comes to Hawaii for a tan, and learns the lessons of tropical sun. We used to ‘spot the tourist’ with the bright pink skin, knowing the hell they will feel tonight. Us locals try to stay out of the sun as much as possible. When I do yard work, it is long pants, long sleeve shirt, and the broad ‘lifeguard hat’. This is my aerobic sweat suit for doing yard work.

    Surfers also use a lot of sunscreen when out on the water for long periods. Unfortunately, it has now been discovered that one of the popular sunscreen ingredients was poisoning the coral and contributing to coral bleaching here. Hawaii is the first state to ban this sunscreen ingredient (can’t think of the name right now) so the makers are scrambling to reformulate if they want to sell in Hawaii.

    6.6 more inches of rain overnight as tropical storm remnants continue to rain out over East Hawaii. Volcano area had 28 inches at one ham location, and I have heard reports of 38 inches storm total above Hilo town. I saw a brief shred of blue sky this morning, but now it is raining again. It seems that East Hawaii… farthest from the storm center… got the majority of the rainfall statewide. When tropical moisture clouds pile up against our tall mountains, it rains torrents.

    • Hank, always one with the silver lining to things: After this much rain (and now this deep mud) I can’t think ogf a better time to bury a great ground system for the ham rig…

      When life hands you lemons, work DX on the low end of 20…

      • But..but..but.. I don’t have mud. I have hard lava rock, in layers, with a thin veneer of organic weeds!

  6. About 30 years ago I dated a rather gifted lady that also was a trauma doctor (eat your heart out Andy!). She told me to NEVER use sunscreen, as the chemicals in them tend to be endocrine disrupters. Which means you are simply trading one set of problems for another. Yes we might have come a long way since then, but better safe than sorry.

    I spent 8 months in the open desert without any shelter. Using organic products I never had even a hint of sunburn. Likewise in the past couple of years I’ve used upwards of 18 contractors at my house pouring and finishing concrete. The finishing part is an all day job, and I’ve always offered the contractors my organic supplements. Again, not even a hint of a sunburn problem.

    The supplements? Try either/both of these two: Polypodium Leucotomos Extract 240mg HelioCare

    (Sigh… no financial interest – with anyone!)

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